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Growing options for Marshall students

City approves permit for Career and Technical Education center

MARSHALL — Marshall Public Schools has had success with its welding and certified nursing assistant programs, and now the school district has found a place to expand into automotive and construction programs as well.

MPS is purchasing property on North U.S. Highway 59 in Marshall, with plans to develop it into a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center. On Tuesday, the Marshall City Council approved a conditional use permit allowing the school district to use the property for that purpose.

The CTE Center would give the school district space for hands-on career training, MPS representatives said.

“Our first phase would move our welding program out there,” said Amanda Pedersen, assistant principal at MATEC.

In a letter to the city building department, MPS Superintendent Jeremy Williams said future development at the CTE Center would allow them to offer auto body and mechanics courses, as well as electrical, plumbing and HVAC courses. The district may also be able to add additional courses in the medical field as well as the CNA program.

The school district was seeking a conditional use permit for the CTE Center, said city building inspector Ilya Gutman. The property MPS is purchasing is zoned as a general industrial district. City ordinances allow industrial training schools in an industrial district with a conditional use permit, and Gutman said the CTE Center is similar enough to an industrial training school that it is eligible for a permit.

The proposed permit did include some conditions, including that the property follow city building codes and have a paved parking lot.

City council member Donald Edblom said the Marshall Planning Commission was “wholeheartedly in favor” of granting the CTE Center a permit. On Tuesday, council members spoke in favor of the project, as well.

The only negative responses from council members were about one of the proposed permit conditions, which limited the center to 60 students at a time, with no more than a quarter being CNA students. Gutman said those figures were based on the school district’s proposals for the CTE programs.

The school district could plan for its own class sizes, council members said.

“The city doesn’t need to dictate that,” said council member James Lozinski.

Council members voted in favor of a motion to grant the CUP, but without the condition setting limits on the total numbers of students.

“This needs to grow,” Lozinski said of the CTE program.

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